Nevada Ed-Watch 1/31/20

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on what decisions are being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.


State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA)

What is the SPCSA & what are they responsible for? The SPCSA sponsors and oversees public charter schools across the State of Nevada. The Authority consists of nine appointed members responsible for overseeing educational and operational standards, and holding sponsored schools accountable to the academic achievement of students.

How often does the SPCSA Board meet? SPCSA members meet once monthly– on Fridays.

Click here for SPCSA meeting schedule and materials.

Can community members engage at SPCSA Board Meetings? All meetings are held publicly at the Nevada Department of Education building in Carson City and the Nevada Department of Education building in Las Vegas (1st floor boardroom). Members of the public are invited to attend at either location. A time for public comment is provided at the conclusion of each agenda item and at the conclusion of each Board meeting. There is a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Members of the community providing testimony must fill out a visitor card, available on-site the day of the meeting.

Alternatively, public comment may be submitted in writing at publiccomment@spcsa.nv.gov, and any such public comment received prior to the meeting will be provided to the Authority and included in the written minutes of the meeting.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA Members.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA sponsored schools.


Friday, January 31, 2020
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda 

What happened at this meeting? 

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report: 

Report Highlights: 

  • Seven schools submitted applications for authorization in the 2019 Summer cycle. Two schools were approved. Five schools were denied, but resubmitted their applications. 
  • One school submitted an application for authorization in the 2020 Winter cycle. 
  • The SPCSA Executive Director presented to the Legislative Committee on Education about the SPCSA’s Needs Assessment, Growth Management Plan, and Strategic Plan. The committee will provide written feedback to the SPCSA regarding the plans.
  • The SPCSA is launching a “secret shopper” style project to enhance oversight of special education compliance through random, unannounced phone calls to schools. Callers will represent themselves as parents of students with disabilities. 

Board Approved the Annual Report for the Nevada Department of Education

The annual SPCSA report, required by statute, includes updates on the academic performance data for each SPCSA-sponsored school, organizational and financial performance frameworks, and federal funds disbursed to SPCSA-sponsored schools. 

Click here to see the annual report. 

Board Approved the Authorization of Girls Athletic Leadership School (G.A.L.S) 

The board approved staff recommendations to authorize G.A.L.S with conditions. The G.A.L.S application returned to the SPCSA board through an appeal process outlined in the document linked below. G.A.L.S will serve 6th grade students for the 2020-2021 school year, and grow into a full 6-8th grade school by the 2022-2023 school year.  

Click here to see the staff recommendation and conditions. 

Board Approved Four (4) Charter School Renewals

The board approved the renewal of the 4 schools listed below. Click each school name to see the recommendation memo provided by SPCSA staff.

Board Heard an Update on Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada 

SPCSA staff members have been working closely with the Pinecrest team on efforts to serve a student population that is reflective of the community. SPCSA staff and members of the Pinecrest team shared updates on establishing a weighted lottery, securing a free lunch program, and launching targeted marketing and outreach for student enrollment. The school team is also working out the details related to transportation. It was noted that family enrollment can be determined by access to transportation. 

Board Heard a Presentation Overview of SPCSA-Sponsored Charter Schools

SPCSA staff presented an overview of SPCSA-sponsored public charter schools. The presentation included a summary of Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF) results, graduation rates, and demographic information as compared to statewide and school district data.

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Discussed Updates to the Board Calendar

Schools that received a Notice of Breach will present updates to the board during the March meeting. Performance data for Beacon Academy under the Alternative Performance Framework will also be available in March.

Board Approved Staff Recommendation to Deny Renewal of Nevada Connections Academy Middle and High School Charter Contract (4-1) 

Nevada Connections Academy (NCA) is an online school currently serving students in grades K-12. When assessing NCA’s application for renewal, SPCSA staff considered the academic, organizational and financial performance of the school– putting the largest weight on the academic performance, as required in statute. In the past three years, the elementary and high school programs have not received a rating above 1-star. While the middle school earned an adequate 3-star rating for the 2016 -17 school year, the two most recent ratings are below 3-stars.  

NCA staff provided testimony that outlined why they believe the school should not close. Highlights included: 

  • 2017 Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF) ratings and subsequent years’ ratings are not comparable due to changes in measures
  • Students that attend NCA are highly mobile or transient, which the school is working to address 
  • Students that attend NCA enroll in the school with credit deficiencies
  • The school is actively working to address student social-emotional learning
  • The school has outlined intervention plans for middle and high school deficiencies 

After extensive presentations from SPCSA staff, Nevada Connections Academy (NCA) staff, and public comment from families– the board voted to deny the renewal of Nevada Connections Academy’s charter contract for their middle and high schools. NCA did not seek renewal for their elementary school, which will close at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. 

Click here to see the SPCSA memo regarding NCA’s renewal. 

Click here to download Nevada Connections Academy’s presentation. 


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Nevada Ed-Watch 10/11/18

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on what decisions are being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.

Included below are recaps from both the State Board of Education and the Clark County School District Board of Trustees meetings on 10/11/18.


Nevada State Board of Education

What is the State Board of Education & what are they responsible for? The Nevada State Board of Education adopts regulations based on Nevada laws, which are in turn passed down to individual school districts in Nevada to implement. The Board has 11 total (7 appointed and 4 publicly elected) members.

How often does the State Board meet? The Nevada State Board of Education meets once per month on Thursdays at 9:00AM. Click here to see the 2018 Board Meeting Schedule. Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar.

Can community members engage at State Board Meetings?  A time for public comment is provided at the beginning (for agenda items) and at the conclusion (on any matter) of each Board meeting. There is a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Members of the community providing testimony must fill out a visitor card, available on-site the day of the meeting.

Click here for a list of all State Board Members.


Thurs, October 11, 2018
Nevada State Board of Education Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda 

What happened at this meeting?

Fingerprinting & Background Checks for School Volunteers & Visitors

“Regular volunteers” who are either unsupervised or come in contact with students are required complete fingerprinting and a background check. State Board Members have adopted a regulation that now defines a “regular volunteer” as someone who volunteers at least four times in one month, or once per week for four or more consecutive weeks.

There are exceptions for students in higher education who are at the school as part of a class, and for those who have already been background checked through another public entity.

Click here to see the full background check regulations doc.

Art Courses

The Board approved new regulations for student performance standards in art courses like dance, music, and visual arts. The standards shift from mastering skills in the specific art to higher level tasks, such as relating art to personal life experiences.

Click here to see the full art course regulations doc.

Alternate Diploma Criteria

The Board approved a new diploma type. This diploma aligns to standards for all students, but is differentiated for the learning needs of students who have significant cognitive disabilities. The Alternative Diploma replaces the former certificate of attendance.  

Click here for details and alternative diploma requirements.

Nevada Educator Performance Framework (NEPF)

The Board approved simple language updates to the Nevada Educator Performance Framework.

Click here to see the updated NEPF language.

Science Cut Scores

New cut scores were approved for the Nevada Alternative Assessment in Science. Cut scores are ranges of points earned on a test that are used to determine whether a student is on grade level in the subject area.

The approved cut score are as follows:  

Nevada Achievement School District (NV ASD) Updates

An update was provided on charter schools authorized (or “sponsored”) by the NV ASD. Part of the presentation included an overview of the fastest improving Rising Star schools (schools that are struggling to meet expectations for student achievement and school performance). See data snapshot below.

Click here to see the full definition of a Rising Star school.

Parent Petitions (a process for parents to advocate for changes at their school to improve student outcomes) are due by November 15th, and will be reported to the State Board by November 30th.

Click here to see the full Achievement School District presentation.

Class Sizes

The Board approved a quarterly report on variances for class-sizes. This report includes information on elementary schools that received variances, meaning they were not able to meet the required teacher-to-student ratio (due to funding limitations, difficulty hiring teachers, facility limitations, or other justification).

Click here to see the quarterly class size variance report.


What’s Next? Potential Future Items (Nevada Department of Education):

  • Developing a feedback process to capture input from school districts on the Nevada School Performance Framework (the rating system the state uses to assess school performance annually). The feedback process will help the state make strategic decisions about adjustments that need to be made to the performance framework.
  • Discussion about teacher absenteeism.

Clark County School District Board of Trustees 

What is the Board of Trustees & what are they responsible for? The CCSD Trustees are publicly elected decision-makers for the school district. They are responsible for providing oversight to the Superintendent and establishing District-wide policy. Trustees are accountable to work with their communities to improve student achievement.

Click here to learn more and see a list of current Trustees.

Click here to Find your Trustee District.

How often does the Board of Trustees meet? Trustees meet twice per month (second and fourth Thursdays) at 5pm at the Edward A. Greer Education Center (Board Room): 2832 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89121.

Click here for a full list of Trustees meetings and agendas.

Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar.

Can community members engage at Trustee Meetings? Decision-making bodies benefit greatly from hearing public input and multiple perspectives. Community members can sign up to speak after the agenda has been posted– by calling the Board Office at (702) 799-1072 at least 3 hours before the scheduled meeting, or signing up in-person at the beginning of the meeting. Prior to each agenda item being voted on, speakers can share their perspective after the Board’s discussion and prior to the vote.


Thurs, October 11, 2018
Clark County School District Board of Trustees Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda 

What happened at this meeting?

Field Trip: Discovery Children’s Museum

The district secured a field trip partnership with Discovery Children’s Museum for 21,000 third graders in Title 1 schools.

Resolution to support Fund Our Future Nevada

The parent group HOPE for Nevada and Education Nevada Now led a presentation about the purpose of Fund Our Future Nevada, a statewide coalition that is advocating to change the way Nevada funds public education for all students. The board passed a resolution to join the Fund Our Future Nevada coalition.

Click here to see the resolution

Click here to learn more about Fund Our Future Nevada

Performance Evaluation and Compensation Plan for Executive Cabinet

Trustees did not to take action on a resolution that outlines performance evaluations and compensation plans for the Superintendent’s executive cabinet. The proposed plan would only go into effect after all employee bargaining units have settled agreements and the full budget of the district has been realized.

Annual Report of Charter School Performance

A resolution was passed to accept the Annual Report of Charter School Performance on the charter schools that CCSD authorizes. Trustees discussed the importance of accountability across all CCSD schools, whether charter or traditional zoned neighborhood school.

Trustees also discussed options for moving forward regarding underperforming CCSD Charter schools. CCSD can do the following:

1) Terminate the schools’ charters

2) Put the schools in receivership

3) Reauthorize the schools under the state

4) Require the schools to develop remediation plans.

A recommendation on the final decision will be brought to the Trustees by the Superintendent at the October 18th Trustees meeting. 

Click here to read about this in the Nevada Independent.


Potential Future Items (CCSD Board of Trustees):

  • Presentation on the development of sex-ed curriculum
  • Follow up report on a pilot energy saving program
  • Review of utilization of school facility policy by community partners
  • Review challenges with guest teachers, including shortage of guest teachers and pay
  • Discuss custodian vacancies
  • Review information regarding the bus driver shortage
  • Policy regarding changing a school’s name
  • Review impact of charter schools on nearby traditional neighborhood district schools
  • Assess the costs of Communities in Schools

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